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Old 10-12-2010, 02:53 PM   #21
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I was told you can not "just move there" unless you have family or have a job lined up.
Or you fled to there in the 60's to avoid the draft ...

BTW, Australia also has a "two level" system for health care. Our guide told us (when we traveled there) that she would not go to a hospital in the public plan. BTW, half the folks there are also enrolled in the private system:

http://www.dfat.gov.au/facts/healthcare.html
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Old 10-12-2010, 03:50 PM   #22
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Richard,

Have you decided where you're moving to yet. We just back from a 3 week vacation in Canada, mostly visiting with DW's relatives. Niagara-on-the-lake, Whitby (an hour from Toronto) and Georgian bay, at a place near to Midland. 3 years ago we had 2 weeks in Quebec City.

Absolutely loved all the locations, and the people we met were great, but I don't think we could take the winters, If Chicago is similar weather then you know what it's like.
Alan,
Thanks for asking. It'll be London, ON, or Guelph, ON. Toronto is way too expensive, as is Vancouver. I looked at Sarnia, ON and Sault Ste. Marie, ON where housing is much cheaper and almost a steal, but those places are too remote and somewhat backward (sorry to offend any Canadians living there).

Niagara-on-the-Lake is very nice and as I understand affordable. Never made it up there to take a look. Other suburbs of Toronto like Whitby or Oshawa look pretty good, although housing there will still be somewhat expensive.
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Old 10-12-2010, 04:10 PM   #23
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Alan,
Thanks for asking. It'll be London, ON, or Guelph, ON. Toronto is way too expensive, as is Vancouver. I looked at Sarnia, ON and Sault Ste. Marie, ON where housing is much cheaper and almaost a steal, but those places are too remote and somewhat backward (sorry to offend any Canadians living there).

Niagara-on-the-Lake is very nice and as I understand affordable. Never made it up there to take a look. Other suburbs of Toronto like Whitby or Oshawa look pretty good, although housing there will still be somewhat expensive.
We really liked Whitby and also went to Oshawa for a look around. DW has a cousin and his wife who relocated to Whitby from Winnepeg with work 23 years ago, and this year have retired and plan to stay in Whitby.

We were extremely impressed with the public transportation system. From where we were staying in Whitby it was a short walk to the GO railway station, although you could see that many folks either drove to the station to park up, or got a local bus. It was an hour on the train to the center of Toronto (we got off at Union station each time we went) and then there was the underground train system and street buses.

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I looked at Sarnia, ON and Sault Ste. Marie, ON where housing is much cheaper and almaost a steal, but those places are too remote and somewhat backward (sorry to offend any Canadians living there).
From our week there I would use the word "quaint" rather than "backward" to describe that area.
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Old 10-13-2010, 12:34 AM   #24
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I worked in Sarnia. I liked it. It is a very nice backwater.

I liked Niagara-on-the-lake also, but I am sure the real estate is expensive. Very touristy all year 'round.
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Old 10-13-2010, 08:42 AM   #25
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I had thought about doing this as well and even posted on here about it. I was told you can not "just move there" unless you have family or have a job lined up. Somebody posted a link to the guidelines on here and it seemed to back that point up. Can you clarify under what condition or clause you applied?

Also, would somebody still be able to get Social Security from the U.S. (once eligible) if you moved to Canda for early retirement?
It's not necessary to have a job lined up. You just need to get 67 points or better in an evaluation of your experience, education, and adaptability, followed by a background check and medical exam. The best way is through the Skilled Worker program where you need at least 1 year work experience in one of 29 needed skills (that list is now pretty small compared to a few years ago). Also there is one common tier of health care for everyone (residents and citizens), unlike apparently Australia.

Immigrating to Canada: Skilled workers and professionals

You can get your social security check sent to you in Canada, or have it electronocally deposited in your bank account there (I believe).
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Old 10-15-2010, 02:03 PM   #26
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You could retire to Canada in the Investor category if you have a minimum net worth of $800,000.
That has changed this year. It is now doubled to $1.6 million.
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Old 10-15-2010, 02:11 PM   #27
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That has changed this year. It is now doubled to $1.6 million.
One aspect for an USA citizen thinking about retiring in Canada is the exchange rate risk. The Canadian $ is near parity with the USA$. My guess is that the C$ will be a strong currency in the future. This means that US$ investments/income will be worth less in the future in Canada.
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Old 10-15-2010, 03:37 PM   #28
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That has changed this year. It is now doubled to $1.6 million.
Inflation is tough in Canada.
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Old 10-16-2010, 01:05 PM   #29
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kcowan, dex, Alan - you guys are all correct in these additional obstacles and risks. I'd also add that everything (to me at least) seems to cost 25-50% more in Canada for the identical items in the States. New cars stickers have whopping price tags. Also no prescription drug coverage there at any age, unlike Medicare Part D here.
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Old 10-17-2010, 12:58 PM   #30
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kcowan, dex, Alan - you guys are all correct in these additional obstacles and risks. I'd also add that everything (to me at least) seems to cost 25-50% more in Canada for the identical items in the States. New cars stickers have whopping price tags. Also no prescription drug coverage there at any age, unlike Medicare Part D here.
The higher prices are due to higher taxes needed to fund universal healthcare. The only fair comparison would be to include all taxes and health plan premiums to get a direct comparison between the 2 countries cost of living. Canada usually fares well in total costs when compared to major states but is more expensive than some of the southern states.

Most provinces have a drug plan. In BC it is called pharmacare and it is means-tested. Make too much in a given year and you subsidy goes away. But your prices for drugs are lower to begin with. And your usage of drugs will be much less too.
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Old 10-18-2010, 07:47 PM   #31
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The higher prices are due to higher taxes needed to fund universal healthcare. The only fair comparison would be to include all taxes and health plan premiums to get a direct comparison between the 2 countries cost of living. Canada usually fares well in total costs when compared to major states but is more expensive than some of the southern states.

Most provinces have a drug plan. In BC it is called pharmacare and it is means-tested. Make too much in a given year and you subsidy goes away. But your prices for drugs are lower to begin with. And your usage of drugs will be much less too.
GST and PST resulting in about 15% sales tax, plus higher income taxes, are what fund social services like universal health care. The reason for higher prices as part of the higher cost of living is an economic and demographic issue. At one tenth the U.S. population spread across vast remote regions, the sales volume and demand to keep costs low doesn't exist. Transporting goods to fewer people across large distances results in significantly higher prices. Competition is also less due to fewer customers/buyers, contributing to higher prices.

I don't think Ontario has a universal, non-means tested drug plan. And the means tested BC plan you mention is more like Medicaid for the poor and destitute here, which I would not compare as similar to the universal, non-means tested federal program Medicare Part D.
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Old 10-19-2010, 10:43 AM   #32
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GST and PST resulting in about 15% sales tax, plus higher income taxes, are what fund social services like universal health care.
The rates are 12% and 13% in the 2 provinces being discussed.
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I don't think Ontario has a universal, non-means tested drug plan. And the means tested BC plan you mention is more like Medicaid for the poor and destitute here, which I would not compare as similar to the universal, non-means tested federal program Medicare Part D.
I agree that the US plan is more socialist than either Ontario's or BC's. But basing a public plan on financial need is always a good idea.
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Old 10-19-2010, 08:23 PM   #33
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Richard,

If this hasn't been asked and if you also don't mind me asking, how will US FICA benefits be affected by your reloc?

On another somewhat related note, the Mrs. is still a resident alien here after 30 years of marriage. I'm wondering if dual citizenship provides more flexabilty with any of this?

Regards...and best wishes
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Old 10-19-2010, 08:41 PM   #34
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Keegs,

By FICA benefits, do you mean receiving social security benefits while residing in Canada? If so, no difference other than I'd need to include that as part of my world-wide income when filing annual tax returns with Revenue Canada.

If the Mrs. is a U.S. resident alien (green card holder) and a dual citizen of another country, it doesn't make any difference as far as reporting income for both of you in the U.S. Her income and yours are taxable.

Hope I understood correctly. If not, please clarify.
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Old 10-19-2010, 09:33 PM   #35
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Keegs,

By FICA benefits, do you mean receiving social security benefits while residing in Canada? If so, no difference other than I'd need to include that as part of my world-wide income when filing annual tax returns with Revenue Canada.

If the Mrs. is a U.S. resident alien (green card holder) and a dual citizen of another country, it doesn't make any difference as far as reporting income for both of you in the U.S. Her income and yours are taxable.

Hope I understood correctly. If not, please clarify.
For some reason I wasn't sure whether our SS benefits followed us overseas. Good to know.

I know these things can get complicated but by FICA I also meant to include Medicare benefits. So if for instance you were to become ill on travel to the US, my understanding is that your medical bills would not be covered by the Canadian system. If that's correct then would you be covered by Medicare while in the US?

The Mrs. is a green card holder and a Swedish citizen only. If we were to reside there I suppose SS would follow us as well and be taxed accordingly.

Relative to medical coverage, after turning 65 the Mrs. will become eligable for Medicare here. My understanding is that while traveling to Sweden, if necessary, she could access the healthcare system there as well.

Gotta protect that nest egg...if you know what I mean.

TIA
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Old 10-21-2010, 12:51 PM   #36
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Or you fled to there in the 60's to avoid the draft ...

BTW, Australia also has a "two level" system for health care. Our guide told us (when we traveled there) that she would not go to a hospital in the public plan. BTW, half the folks there are also enrolled in the private system:

About Australia: Health Care in Australia
Everyone in Australia is entitled to use the medicare system. I would say 99.99% of visits to General Practitioners are done thru the medicare system. We do have private health insurance which is in addition to the medicare system. Basically if you earn over a certain amount you are expected to take out private insurance, if you don't you will pay an additional medicare levy when you submit your tax return.

My MIL is an example of someone who has both. Often she will be admitted to hospital as a private patient, however she goes to the same hospital she would under medicare, sees the same Dr she would under medicare and she may get her own private room or she may end up in a shared room as she does for medicare. Only difference is for the snob value she will end up with a bigger bill to pay.

Private health insurance premiums in Australia are approved by the Govt. When we last lived in Oz in 2005 we were paying $200 a month approx. (a couple) and that covered medical, dental, chiropractor. Pharmaceutical benefits are all paid under medicare and the government tells the drug companies what they are allowed to charge.

Dex, you mentioned the Gold Coast, in Oz this area is commonly known as BrisVegas so that will give you some idea of what you could expect.
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Old 10-21-2010, 07:26 PM   #37
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For some reason I wasn't sure whether our SS benefits followed us overseas. Good to know.

I know these things can get complicated but by FICA I also meant to include Medicare benefits. So if for instance you were to become ill on travel to the US, my understanding is that your medical bills would not be covered by the Canadian system. If that's correct then would you be covered by Medicare while in the US?

The Mrs. is a green card holder and a Swedish citizen only. If we were to reside there I suppose SS would follow us as well and be taxed accordingly.

Relative to medical coverage, after turning 65 the Mrs. will become eligable for Medicare here. My understanding is that while traveling to Sweden, if necessary, she could access the healthcare system there as well.

Gotta protect that nest egg...if you know what I mean.

TIA
Yes, if a resident or citizen of Canada travels to the U.S., they are not covered by Canadian healthcare. The advise for Canadians is to buy U.S. healthcare insurance in advance for the time spent in the U.S.

I don't see why a U.S. citizen who is also a Canadian resident couldn't also be covered by Medicare (if eligible) when in the U.S. But I don't know if Medicare follows its enrollees outside the U.S. if they reside there, in covering medical expenses and charges.

Per the comment on Australian health care coverage for public or private options, in Canada private medical services are by and large illegal. As it was explained to me when I asked about this at the local Canadian goverment walk-in clinic, private coverage would allow people to "jump ahead in line" in creating a 2-tier system where those with money get faster care. This is what the Canadian system avoids and prevents in ensuring equal access not based on affordability. However, a recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling opened the door to private health care, so this situation may change (unfortunately).
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Old 10-22-2010, 12:04 PM   #38
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Reason they created the two tier system was to take some of the pressure off the medicare system. Of course it does allow the queue jumping, but it also removes all pretense that we are all created equal and confirms money does talk. However, I would say for treatments such as cancer it makes no difference. Where the private helps is if say you require knee replacement surgery you might be able to get it done quicker.
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Old 10-22-2010, 12:16 PM   #39
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Canada allows private treatment and queue jumping. We call it "medical tourism".
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Old 10-22-2010, 12:40 PM   #40
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Canada also has private insurers for dental, drugs and various advanced screening centres.
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